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Case Study: Blended learning at Barclays

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Reflections
Barclays Wealth Management division deals with international banking, investment banking, private clients and stock broking services. With 7000 employees, it is a major contributor to Barclays Group turnover and profits. Barclays Wealth Academy, which is dedicated to staff development in the division, recently launched a new online learning portal for employees.


With the aim of creating a business-focused learning curriculum, the Wealth Academy consulted with internal clients and stakeholders to find out their views on what areas to address. It came up with the shortlist of relationship management, technical excellence and professional leadership and business management.

The operating principle of the Wealth Academy was to move forward quickly, piloting initiatives, evaluating them in-depth and adjusting them as needed before bringing them into the mainstream of the business.

With this in mind, Barclays set up an online learning portal to serve as a central point for employees of the Wealth Management division to gain access to a range of learning programmes, networking opportunities plus in-depth articles. This was to be a blended learning initiative with face-to-face, e-learning, audio and coaching.

The Wealth Academy wanted the online learning portal and website up and running within six weeks. The aim would be to attract employees to the website and build a profile for employee-focused learning in the business. Therefore, the impact and design of the site were very important, from the start.

Needs
Paul Rudd, who heads up Barclays Wealth Academy, and his team spent time with people in the Wealth Management business at all levels, to understand their learning needs. Senior people from all areas of this 7,000 strong division were co-opted to a ‘content definition’ group to define programmes and a ‘commercial group’ to ensure the learning programmes added real business value.

The next step was to determine how the business objectives of the Wealth Academy could be met quickly and deliver the online portal through which the entire e-learning content and blended learning offering would be delivered or communicated. Barclays selected online community solutions and e-learning provider, Futuremedia to create and host the portal and provide editorial and marketing support for the launch.

Measure
The portal’s learning management capability has allowed the Wealth Academy to extend access to learning across the business and efficiently monitor and measure it. Once implemented, the Wealth Academy was able to deliver a consistent and comprehensive set of learning solutions ranging from classroom-based training and workshops through to downloadable MP3 audio files.

Rudd and his team are already implementing further developments and responding at pace to business requirements.

“Only six months into the pilot phase we recorded over 800 registered users to the portal. We have received positive feedback from the employees using it and attending our programmes,” he said.

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Annie Hayes

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